Students, wildlife activists spread awareness against cruelty to elephants

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Jaipur, Aug 30(ANI): Hundreds of school students, animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts came together on Sunday to stage a mass rally through the streets of Jaipur to highlight the cruel treatment meted out to elephants by their owners and mahouts.

The peace procession follows the death of Naina, a 35-year-old elephant, which ran amok while ferrying a group of tourists on a joyride on August 23 and died a day later.

Naina was carrying the tourists to Amer Fort and suddenly turned aggressive although the tourists managed to escape by jumping down as soon as the Mahout lost control of the elephant.

The animal activists, some of them dressed as elephants, carried the symbolic 'carcass' of Naina on their shoulders and an earthen pot with smoke coming out of it like Hindus carry dead bodies to a cremation place for the final ritual.

The 'carcass' of Naina was placed on a symbolic pyre for the final ritual to create awareness against elephant cruelty.

"Our message is basically to reduce this violence against the elephants and to treat them as living beings. That's basically peace, we are not doing any kind of protest. Our main aim is to create awareness and make sure that the animal gets some kind of at least basic care they need in Rajasthan weather, which they actually don't belong to," said Arjun, a wildlife activist.

The activists said that no lessons had been learnt since the death of Naina and the uncared elephants were still being used to ferry tourists.

"We basically want that the animal being provided (given) their true basic right to food, shelter and water which is not being provided. On top of that they are being used. When you are generating money out of using an elephant, which is providing you food and revenue, the basic thing you can do is to give the elephant sanitation and healthcare, which we are not providing. Elephants are made to work, cruelly chained and they are beaten up with an Ankush (trident like hook)," said Dr Rina Dey, an animal lover. By Lokendra Singh (ANI)

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